Construction expert: How to build a safe house during a severe storm

Q: How can a building owner prepare for a severe storm? A building is unsafe when most of the interior areas are in flood-like conditions or otherwise in danger of flooding. Up to a third of the building must be used as a shelter during a storm.

Our 100-year flood map has been red-flagged due to problems with the city’s floodplains. The layout of the building makes it less than ideal for structural and foot traffic below the rooftops.

The presence of electrical and water hazards often triggers a building code issue. All of the windows must be blown out, the boiler replaced and there is no access to electrical systems.

The building will require a room-by-room inspection to determine the scope of the damage. The inspection must demonstrate that the building is structurally sound. The building owner will then be required to submit an affidavit to the city of my location, attesting to that fact.

If a catastrophic storm occurs and the owner is in a flood hazard zone but he is not in a class 1 flood hazard area, a class 2 certified surveyor is required to assist him in his selection of the best design and materials for the construction of a new building.

This analysis will help ensure that the architect does not come up with a solution that is too expensive, uses unrecoverable materials or will fail within a short time frame. Class 1 only requires an assessment of the structural integrity of the building and that it is structurally sound.

As long as the necessary paperwork is in order, a newly-built structure can be built within 24 to 48 hours, depending on the city, area and weather conditions.

This post originally appeared on Scott W. Amussen on his site

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